Fresh off the job of “deciphering” the Galar language (which, spoiler alert, is just basically gibberish)… a NEW language was discovered in the Lental Region of the New Pokémon Snap games!
When the January 2021 promo video for New Pokémon Snap dropped, it also revealed the Lental alphabet, as seen above. You can see it for yourself below:
Based on these images alone, some key facts are revealed:
- I have so far discovered 19 unique glyphs in Lentalian across 80 letters.
- Initially I thought I found only 18, assuming one letter was an accidental vertical flip, seeing as other flips occurred, but it turned out to be a proper letter outright.
- Another way to tell if text encodes an actual language or not is how often certain letters appear or not. If every letter appears an almost equal number of times, it probably isn’t a real language. In the case of Lentalian however, six of the glyphs are used seven or more times, while eight are used either once or twice. This definitely leads me to believe that Lentalian is an actual language.
- The game’s prerelease materials have stated that the travel pod that the player is in most of the time is called the “NEO-ONE” (or “NEO-01”) pod. This gives us the first clues on how to decipher the alphabet.
Below are two pictures of what I was able to work out right away; the one of the left is all the letters of Lental I pulled from the video, while the image on the right is the full list of Lental letters I found along with some extra colored letters; the GREEN letters are the characters which I actually have already deciphered (based on the name “NEO-01”), while the RED letters are temporary characters just so I can at least write something out in text while sorting things out.
So with all this on the table, we can begin work on actually deciphering the alphabet depicted in the video. In that case, there are 4 pieces of text we can try to figure out for now; again, GREEN letters have been officially decoded, while the RED letters are just placeholders based on the letter chart above. Guess letters will be colored YELLOW, and any other characters or unrelated letters (like numbers) will be GREY.
This is the basis of all subsequent alphabet deciphering.
|MENDIM TOHESON YNB
“MENDIM TOHESON” looks like “LENTAL POKEMON”. And I think I accidentally deciphered the fifth word as “SCIENCE”… but then that would make it “LENTIL”, not “LENTAL”. But then again, “LENTIL” IS the Japanese romaji name for the Region. Finally, WordFinder suggests YNB is “AND”.
So if we swap out the placeholders for the new letters assuming this, then it would become:
LENTIL POKEMON AND
Based on the results from below, this text becomes:
LENTIL POKEMON AND
So actually, it looks like the last word is LABORATORY… which means that the third character WASN’T accidentally flipped vertically. So that’s the 19th character!
LENTIL POKEMON AND
|(flipped from original video clip)||MENDIM INGDIDFDE
TOHESON YNB NYDFQE
“MENDIM” appears again… which makes sense that it’s “LENTIL”? And then the second word it definitely “INSTITUTE”. Taking “AND” from above turns that text into:
POKEMON AND NATFQE
OK, that last word is definitely “NATURE”.
The double letters in the middle made me think it might have been a reference to Professor Mirror… but then it would have the same letter on the end. Inputting the guess letters above into this creates:
WordFinder suggests that, unless this is the character’s name, it could be any one of these words: bellow, cellos, felloe, fellow, hellos, mellow, yellow
I thought maybe it was “Yellow”, but “Y” is depicted as a different character… assuming that that that word with “Y” in it is supposed to be “LABORATORY”. So… I’m at a loss. In that case, it’s probably the player’s name, which I suspect might be the case as it looks like their ID number below the text. That said, based on what letters HAVEN’T already appeared, it could be “Fellow”, “Hellow”, “Jellow”, “Gellof”, “Fellog”, “Velloh”… I’m sticking with “Fellow” for now, but that’s a total guess not based on ANY rational conjecture.
OK so, based on these guesses, this is the updated results for the letters:
With all this said, if you’re the impatient type and just want the answers, here they are:
LENTIL POKEMON AND
(Not completely official, the F and W are total guesses.)
Other clear facts about Lentalian include:
- The Lentalian alphabet is effectively a cipher of English, or at least the Latin alphabet.
- Because of which, there will likely only be 26 letters in the Lentalian alphabet, with no extra diacritics or extra symbols used; for example, “Pokémon” is written simply as “Pokemon”, without any kind of Lentalian version of the ´ accent over the “e”.
- This also means that, if any Japanese words are written using it, it’ll be written in romaji. This likewise implies that any Pokémon names written in Lentalian will use their transliterated Japanese equivilants (eg. “Fushigidane” instead of “Bulbasaur”)
- Like the Galarian alphabet, the Lentalian alphabet uses symbols and characters pulled from other languages, or even mixed between them.
- Characters like 4 (A), 0 (N), Z (M) are obvious, albeit stylized (actually 0 (N) looks a bit like “slashed zero” seen on computer terminals)
- Then there are characters like ラ (S), れ (K), ¥ (L) which are based on Japanese characters or symbols
- Greek characters like Ψ (Y), Θ (N), Π (E) can be seen
- Finally, characters like П (E), Б (D), Э (T) which come from the Russian alphabet (technically Cyrillic).
- Speaking of Cyrillic, both it and Lentalian use letters which are made up of two distinct elements, which appear to be two separate letters but are actually intended to be read together. In the case of Cyrillic, the letter Ы is a vowel similar to the “i” in “hit” or the “e” in “roses”, even though it looks like it’s the Cyrillic letters Ь and І. Meanwhile, the Lentilian characters for at least I, O and U are made up of multiple detatched elements but are clearly supposed to be a single glyph.
- Those mixed letters also almost look like English lowercase letters like ir (?) and in (O)
- The Lentalian alphabet only covers the letters itself. Numbers and punctuations seem to be as we expect them to be.
This is where I’m at right now. Let’s see where further research takes me!